Prone to Wander

Our Hearts are Prone to Wander (Jer. 14:10)

The 3rd stanza of the 1758 hymn titled Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, states how our hearts are “prone to wander,” and “prone to leave the God I love.” Throughout the Bible, beginning in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:8—3:22) and continuing over to Rev. 2-3, we see this “proneness” being played out.

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

The book of Judges (and the entire Bible) repeatedly illustrates the cyclical pattern God’s people have journeyed in their relationship with Him. Judges 2:7-19 and Judges 3:5-11 are just two examples. That pattern continues up till this very day.

The Cycle of Sin and Revival in the Nation of Israel (Judges 2:7-19)

1. The people served the Lord (vs. 7)

2. The people sinned and turned to other gods (vs. 11)

3. God disciplined them through their enemies (vs. 14-15)

4. God sent judges (prophets) to warn and turn them back to Himself (vs. 16)

5. Often they wouldn’t listen to the warnings (vs. 17)

6. When they did heed the warnings and they turn back to the Lord and called out for His help, they experienced deliverance (vs. 18)

7. After their deliverance they turned away from the Lord again (vs. 19)

 The Bible shows us that believers often follow a similar pattern. We frequently “wander” from God, and when we are at a spiritual low, and His presence is no longer experienced, we will listen to the prophet’s warnings and begin to call out to God for deliverance and restoration. God will then send the deliverance (revival) that we so desperately need. There are pastors and church leaders who are reluctant to confess they need a revival, because to seek a revival there must first be the confession that they have drifted from God. Their unwillingness to humble themselves before God keeps them and that congregation perpetually in a state of bondage to their enemies (demonic powers), as well as a wearisome existence without the presence of God.

New Testament Churches that “Wandered” from the Lord

1. The Church in Ephesus: (Rev. 2:1-7)

2. The Church in Pergamos: (Rev. 2:12-17)

3. The Church in Thyatira (Rev. 2:18-29)

4. The Church in Sardis: (Rev. 3:1-6)

5. The Church in Laodicia: (Rev. 3:14-22)

In Henry T. Blackaby’s book Fresh Encounter, he shows the phases of sin and revival churches today go through.

1. God is on a mission to redeem a lost world. He calls people into a relationship with Him, and He accomplishes His work through them.

2. God’s people tend to depart from Him, turning to substitutes for His presence, His purposes, and His ways.

3. God disciplines His people because of His love.

4. God’s people cry out to Him for help. (Like the prodigal son.)

5. God calls His people to repent and return to Him or perish (God may remove the church from usefulness or existence.)

6. God revives His repentant people by restoring them to a right relationship with Him. (He gives them a new heart after cleansing.)

7. God exalts His Son Jesus among His people and draws the lost to saving faith in Him.

 Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. (Heb. 2:1)

Our “proneness” to forget His mercies is also illustrated in in Psalms 106:6-8, but this passage also shows us that, “for His name’s sake, and to make his power known,” He had mercy and saved them. We can take comfort in that, knowing that though we fail, He will remain faithful to us.

We have sinned with our fathers, We have committed iniquity, We have done wickedly. Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Your wonders; They did not remember the multitude of Your mercies, But rebelled by the sea—the Red Sea. Nevertheless He saved them for His name’s sake, That He might make His mighty power known. (Ps. 106:6-8)

Evaluation

Where are you personally, or where is your church in this often repeated cycle? If you and your church are on fire and are passionately laboring to exalt Jesus and draw the lost to saving faith, pray for those who are not in that phase. If you find yourself in a different phase, what steps do you need to take to get back to where He wants you to be?

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